Val Lambros m.d., f.a.c.s.

cosmetic and reconstructive surgery

Choosing a plastic surgeon

At the very least one should choose someone who has done years of residency and training in surgery, focusing on cosmetic surgery of the face and body. There is only one recognized American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: the highest level of training that exists in the United States. There are other groups that call themselves "Boards of Cosmetic Surgery" or variations on that theme. Most of them are open to Dermatologists, gynecologists, general practitioners and people who have not been trained in surgery. There is no consistency in competence or training in any of these groups.

In my opinion, one reduces the odds of great care when choosing a doctor who like this. In addition, there are family doctors and dentists and gynecologists doing Botox and fillers as well as cosmetic surgery on other parts of the body. Most of these practitioners have been traditionally paid by insurance for the specialties they trained for, and have suffered financially by reduced reimbursements from insurance. The try to make up income in areas in which they were not trained, or even previously shown interest in, since cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance and is paid by the patients themselves.

One goes into plastic surgery because one has a genuine interest in improving facial and body contours. It is not unusual for plastic surgeons to spend years flipping through fashion magazines, not for the fashion itself, but to understand what makes an attractive face. Though some cosmetic procedures look easy, it takes years to discover the best way to do them and to understand the subtleties of the procedures. Most patients would rather go to someone trained in this way than to someone who is doing procedures to make up for lost profit.

The "Natural Facelift"

Every plastic surgeon will tell you they specialize in"Natural Facelifts." It appears that the market for "Unnatural Facelifts" is rather small. Nonetheless, if you look at the obvious facelifts out there you will see that quite a few of them look distinctly un-natural. Someone did them, almost certainly a doctor who's marketed as specializing in "Natural Facelifts."

Take a look at the doctors' pictures and decide for yourself what looks good.

When you look at pictures, make sure that you look at the ears. If the ears are covered up, the chances are that the facelift is still fresh and the ears have red scars. Why is that important? Because the first few month after a facelift is when it looks the best. The tissues are a little swollen, which smooths out the skin. Also the skin is still tight. In a few months the facelifted skin will stretch out again and not look quite so tight, particularly in the neck. Make sure you are looking at least 6 month result where you can see the ears, which will have white or slightly pink scars. Make sure the pictures are not serious befores and smiling afters. Everybody looks good smiling. Make sure the lighting in the photos is the same. It is very easy to mislead with photos. I am always surprised by how many people choose surgeons based on misleading photos.